New Sea-Tac program to allow visitors past security without a ticket

    Travelers wait in line at Sea-Tac Airport security. (KOMO file photo)

    SEATAC, Wash. - The Port of Seattle is launching a new pilot program that will allow visitors past security at Sea-Tac Airport even if they aren't booked on a flight.

    Port officials said local residents can sign up for the SEA Visitor Pass pilot program starting this week. It will be the first time in 17 years that someone without a ticket can access areas of the airport beyond security.

    "Remember the days when you could wave goodbye at the airport gate as someone boarded a plane? Or you could welcome them with a hug at the gate of a domestic flight? Or grab a bite to eat with a traveler on a layover? Now that opportunity is back," the port said in a news release touting the new program.

    Sea-Tac officials boast that "some of the airport's best features" are on the other side of security, including restaurants, performing musicians and views of the planes and taxiways against the backdrop of the Olympic Mountains.

    The pilot program will run through Dec. 14. If the program is successful and enough people show an interest, the port says it will study the feasibility of continuing the program permanently.

    Here’s how the SEA Visitor Pass program works:

    • You must apply online before 1:30 p.m. the day before you want to visit the airport.
    • Visitors must be approved by TSA and will be notified of their approval status by midnight the day before their arrival.
    • Enrollment is available Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
    • Entrance to the post-security side of the terminal is allowed from Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
    • The program is limited to 50 visitors per day.
    • Meeting travelers at their gate applies only to domestic arrivals.
    • Approved visitors will go through the standard security checkpoints, so all security requirements for any traveler will be in place for visitors as well. Check with TSA for security requirements and plan ahead for peak traveler periods.

    For more information or to apply for a pass, visit the SEA Visitor Pass Program page online or check out the Frequently Asked Questions.

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